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Report Reveals Increase in Human Rights Issues Following Anti-Homosexuality Law

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In a recent report, an increase in human rights violations against LGBTQ+ individuals has been documented since the implementation of the Anti-Homosexuality Law in May. The report, authored by the Strategic Response Team (SRT Uganda), reveals numerous incidents of evictions, torture, discrimination, and mental health challenges affecting the LGBTQ+ community in Uganda.

During the reporting period, LGBTQ+ individuals have faced exposure, torture, arrests, and various forms of violence, including evictions, blackmail, loss of employment, and disruptions in health services. The new law has led to a decline in access to essential healthcare services, such as HIV testing and treatment, as individuals fear reporting to healthcare providers.

As a result, there has been a rise in mental health issues, school dropouts, and people seeking asylum outside Uganda to escape persecution. Additionally, local authorities and security agencies have conducted raids on LGBTQ+ housing shelters and civic organizations.

The Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2023 has faced criticism from activists who argue that it violates rights to equality, non-discrimination, dignity, and privacy for LGBTQ+ individuals. President Museveni has supported the law, urging Ugandans to stand firm, despite concerns raised by development partners.

Critics of the law also argue that it provides a basis for invasive searches, interrogations, imprisonment, and physical examinations of LGBTQ+ individuals. The law’s operationalization has been seen as sanctioning violence against this community.

The report highlights that the violations were preceded by efforts to silence organizations supporting LGBTQ+ individuals. The government’s closure and suspension of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) in August 2022 and the targeting of organizations for “promoting homosexuality” further exacerbated the situation.

In response to the law, the World Bank temporarily halted lending to Uganda, while the European Union continued financial aid to avoid depriving vulnerable populations. Pro-gay activists have criticized this decision.

The report calls for coordinated international action and pressure on Uganda to potentially nullify the law in the Constitutional Court. It specifically recommends actions to various entities, including the Constitutional Court, the president, the Parliament, the police, and civil society organizations.

Human rights activist Frank Mugisha expressed concern about the negative impact of the law on the LGBTQ+ community, emphasizing the need for support and understanding in this challenging time.